When you are down and out, fly a kite…

I have seen something that I really wish I could take a photo of. One of the highlights of my year is when I go on our yearly Word Rider tour.  This is a project of the South African Bible Society, when about 60 of us, from all over the country, gather around to go to one region, and visit the outbacks, the schools in the rural areas of South Africa where no tourist ever goes. We visit, and give every grade 7 learner in the school a brand new bible in the language of their choice. We get to have a good conversation with these kids, and to pray for them.

This year’s tour started in the world famous surfing town of Jeffereys Bay. And if you have ever been there, you probably would not have noticed- just behind the surf shops is a township, where very poor people live. This whole province of the Eastern Cape is one of the most poverty stricken parts of our country.

It is a beautiful part of the country. One of the famous landmarks between Port Elizabeth (the southern most city in Africa- look it up…) and Jeffereys Bay is the Van Staden River Bridge. Amazing place. Unfortunately many people who have lost hope, has used this bridge to jump off and end their lives…


We visited a lot of schools, meeting the learners, and learning about their lives…


It is heartbreaking to see towns where unemployment is as high as 97%. The people have lost hope of ever finding a job again. The kids are living in these circumstances. They have big hopes and dreams. But many towns only have a primary school, and the nearest secondary school might be 100 km away, the hostels too expensive and bus transport unavailable or unaffordable. So many of these kids just get to leave school after grade 7, and go home sitting around, waiting for better days to come.

But now- the photo I wish I could have taken, but we were riding in formation…

There was this one kid in a squatter camp (shanty town). It was incredibly messy around, with lots of plastic and paper discarded around the tin houses. A bad place to grow up. But this one kid took a yellow plastic shopping bag, and some twigs. He found a piece of fishing line. He built himself a beautiful kite. And in the midst of all this squalor he was flying his kite in the breeze. He looked so happy…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s